Heavy cream is a must-have ingredient, and with good reason. Soups, sauces, handmade butter, ice cream, and sour cream are just a few of the recipes that call for it.
It's created from the high-fat component of fresh milk and is sometimes called heavy whipping cream. When you leave fresh milk to stand, a thick cream rises to the top and can be scraped off.
Heavy cream, which has 36–40 percent fat, is higher in fat than other cream variants such as whipping cream, half-and-half, and light cream.
Heavy cream, on the other hand, is high in fat and contains dairy, so it may not be good for everyone.
Fortunately, if you want to replace heavy cream with a lower-fat or dairy-free alternative, there are many more of alternatives.
Here are our 12 best heavy cream alternatives.
1. Half-and-Half & Butter
Many recipes that call for heavy cream can be easily substituted with half-and-half cream and butter.
Half-and-half is prepared from whole milk and cream, but it has only roughly a third of the fat found in heavy cream.
Because adding butter raises the fat content of half-and-half, it can be used in practically every recipe that calls for heavy cream, including those that need whipping.
In some applications, such as sauces and soups, half-and-half can be used to substitute heavy cream without adding butter.
7/8 cup (232 grams) half-and-half plus 1/8 cup (29 grams) melted butter can be used to replace 1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream.
2. Greek Yoghurt & Milk
Another option for thickening your recipes is to use a mixture of Greek yoghurt and whole milk rather than heavy cream.
Greek yoghurt is rich in protein and can give your finished product a healthy twist by increasing the protein content.
Although it is thicker than heavy cream, you can thin it up with milk to achieve a consistency closer to heavy cream.
Substitute the same amount of heavy cream with a mixture of equal parts Greek yoghurt and whole milk.
Note that while this alternative can thicken soups and sauces, it should not be used in recipes that require whipping.
Furthermore, because Greek yoghurt is lower in fat, it may not deliver the same tenderness or flavour in baked goods or sweets as heavy cream.
3. Milk and Butter
The combination of milk and butter is a simple, proven technique to replace heavy cream in most recipes.
The butter provides more fat to the milk, bringing it closer to the fat content of heavy cream.
To produce 1 cup (237 ml) of heavy cream, combine 1/4 cup (57 grams) melted butter with 3/4 cup (178 ml) milk and whisk thoroughly. To thicken the liquid, add a tablespoon (8 grams) of flour, especially if you're using low-fat milk.
Remember that this substitution works well in cooking and baking dishes that require for heavy cream for flavour and richness. This will not, however, whip as well as heavy cream.
4. Coconut cream
Coconut cream is a versatile ingredient that can be used to replace heavy cream in vegan recipes.
It can be purchased ready-made, but it's also simple to make at home with coconut milk.
Simply chill a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight, then open it and pour the liquid contents into a separate container. The thick, solidified coconut cream left in the can can then be scooped out and used as a heavy cream substitute.
Replace an equal amount of heavy cream with coconut cream in your favourite sweets and baked goods recipes. It can also be used to make coconut ice cream or whipped into a delightful dessert topping.
Although coconut cream has qualities similar to heavy cream, keep in mind that it may change the flavour of your finished product and should only be used in recipes that call for it.
5. Cream cheese
Cream cheese is a fresh cheese that is produced with milk and cream. Though it's most known for being a spread for bagels and a major element in cheesecakes, it can also be used as a heavy cream substitute in some recipes.
Cream cheese, in particular, is an useful substitute for butter in frostings and can thicken cream-based soups and sauces. It should not, however, be used in place of heavy cream in recipes that call for whipping.
Cream cheese can be used instead of heavy cream at a 1:1 ratio.
Remember that cream cheese can impact the flavour and texture of the finished product, so use it only in recipes where the flavours would complement each other, such as creamy soups or cheesy sauces.
6. Cottage cheese and Milk
Cottage cheese is created from cow's milk curds. It's rich in protein and minerals, therefore it's a good alternative to heavy cream.
Cottage cheese alone can be used to thicken sauces and other recipes that require heavy cream. Simply mix it with an immersion blender or a food processor to remove the lumps.
You may also use it to help imitate the smooth, creamy texture of heavy cream in other recipes by mixing it with milk.
Combine equal parts cottage cheese and milk in a blender and puree until all lumps are gone. This mixture can be substituted for an equivalent amount of heavy cream.
Choose dishes that work well with cottage cheese's distinctive, cheesy flavour, such as savoury soups and sauces.
Also, take into account that cottage cheese contains a lot of sodium. If you're salt-sensitive, choose a lower-sodium variant or reduce the quantity of salt in your dish if you use this substitute.
7. Milk and cornstarch
This combination may work well for you if you're searching for a low-fat, low-calorie alternative to heavy cream.
To recreate the texture of heavy cream, cornstarch is used to thicken milk.
To substitute 1 cup (237 ml) of heavy cream in your recipe, mix together 2 tablespoons (19 grams) cornstarch and 1 cup (237 ml) milk until thickened.
To help reduce the calories and fat content of your recipe, you can use whole milk or skim milk.
This alternative is very beneficial in the kitchen, but it may change the texture of baked items and does not whip as well as heavy cream.
8. Soy Milk and Olive Oil
Mix soy milk and olive oil for a vegan, dairy-free alternative to heavy cream.
Olive oil adds fat to soy milk, similar to how milk and butter do, giving a flavour and function similar to heavy cream.
Combine 2/3 cup (159 ml) soy milk with 1/3 cup (79 ml) olive oil to create the flavour and thickness of 1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream.
This alternative works best for adding tenderness and flavour to cooking and baking, but it should not be used in whipping recipes.
9. Evaporated Milk
Evaporated milk is a shelf-stable, canned milk product that contains around 60% less water than regular milk.
As a result, it's thicker and creamier than milk, and in some recipes, it can be a low-calorie replacement for heavy cream.
Because evaporated milk does not have the same thickness as heavy cream and does not whip as efficiently, it is best for use in recipes where heavy cream is a liquid ingredient, such as baked goods.
Replace the heavy cream with an equal amount of evaporated milk for the best results. If you're creating a dessert, you can sweeten it with some drops of vanilla essence.
10. Cashews and Almonds
Cashews and almonds can be used to replace heavy cream for people who have difficulties digesting dairy products. Fill up a cup of water approx. 237ml (1cup) and add a few cashew and almonds, Mix the nuts into the water until you achieve the desired consistency. Add a few more nuts and combine again if the mixture isn't thick enough.
11. Sour cream
Sour cream has a fat content of approximately 20%, which is slightly less than that of heavy cream. Lactic acids have been used to create the flavour and consistency of this cream.
It can be substituted in equal amounts for the heavy cream specified in the recipe.
Sour cream can be used to add richness to your recipes, but it can curdle when added to hot dishes, so wait until the dish has finished cooking before using it.
It's especially good with sweet dishes or as a topping for sweet desserts. It can also be spooned over sweet treats like crepes as a topping.
12. Half and half
In this method, half of the milk and half of the cream are used in equal amounts. Because the combination of these ingredients has a lower fat level than heavy cream, it's a great option for people looking for a healthy alternative.
This combination, like heavy cream, provides richness to foods and can be used in desserts, sauces, and soups.
Butter can be added to the mixture to increase the fat content. As a result, the alternative you've created can be used in a variety of recipes. Unlike many other combinations, this one can be used for whipping as well.